For the second time in the past three weeks, the Minnesota Vikings deactivated wide receiver Bernard Berrian. The first time came against the Arizona Cardinals, when he was reportedly deactivated for missing two meetings the night before the game. This time, coming against the Green Bay Packers, the deactivation might be for something more serious.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier told the media after the team’s 27-33 loss to the Packers that Berrian’s deactivation was a last-second decision. He wouldn’t give any specific reasoning for the move, but made it clear that the situation was going to be discussed within the organization this week.
“It’s something we’ll talk about this week and we’ll talk about it more this week,” Frazier said.
Frazier went on to say that the deactivation was “just a decision that I made that we’ll probably get into later on in the week.”
Although fans everywhere didn’t seem to mind Berrian’s benching, it was a bit surprising that it came so close to game time. Especially with rookie quarterback Christian Ponder getting his first career NFL start, you would think that Frazier would try to provide him with as much stability as possible. That, however, also makes you wonder just what Berrian did and forces speculation that it might have been a rather big misstep on his part.
“I just need to talk to him about some things and we’ll go from there,” Frazier said regarding Berrian.
Frazier is expected to sit down and talk with Berrian today in hopes of bringing some sort of closure to this situation.
This season has been a huge bust for Berrian, who has only managed seven catches in five games played. With those seven catches, he has racked up an astonishing 91 yards and has been a complete non-factor whenever he’s been on the field for the Vikings. He struggles to get open and when he does have the ball thrown his way, he either drops it or doesn’t have the speed to get under it. Overall, he’s done more harm than good for the Vikings’ offense.
Berrian took a $2 million pay cut prior to the beginning of the season in exchange for the right to continue playing with the Vikings as well as the ability to test the free agency market in 2012 instead of 2013. Although it seemed like a good deal at the time for both parties, Berrian might be a free agent sooner than expected and now has less money to show for his efforts (or lack thereof).
Whether this move spells the end of Berrian’s stay with the Vikings or not, something needs to change if Frazier hopes to justify keeping him on the team. His lack of production and ineffectiveness on the field continue to make him a liability, which will only make life that much more difficult for a budding rookie quarterback.
Just a sidenote: the Vikings have two promising young wide receivers on their practice squad, Emmanuel Arceneaux and Stephen Burton, who I would love to see take Berrian’s spot on the active roster. Both have an abundance of potential and deserve an opportunity to prove that they can play in the NFL.
We’ll see as the week continues on if Frazier has the courage to sever ties with the woeful wide receiver or if he’ll find some excuse to keep wasting a roster spot.